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People Aren't All Bad (film)

Short video by Matthew Hashiguchi that centers on the wartime experience of Yutaka Kobayashi, a Nisei from San Francisco, who recalls a memorable moment of kindness from a guard at Topaz .

The four-minute video consists of Kobayashi, eighty-eight years old at the time, talking about his prewar life in San Francisco, graduating from high school in February 1942, and being rejected by the army when trying to enlist. He and his family end up incarcerated at the Topaz, Utah, concentration camp. Frustrated by his imprisonment, he walks the camp; when he passes a guard tower, the guard strikes up a conversation and asks him if there is anything he needs. When he impulsively asks for a model airplane magazine, the guard agrees. The next day, when Kobayashi reappears, the guard drops the magazine down from the tower.

A filmmaker and assistant professor in multimedia film & production at Georgia Southern University, Hashiguchi wrote that he viewed People Aren't All Bad as a bit of an exercise, both personally and professionally," knowing he wanted to do the larger project on his family's incarceration story. [1] That project became Good Luck Soup , an interactive website and full length documentary completed in 2016. People Aren't All Bad was selected for the American Pavilion Emerging Filmmaker Showcase at the Cannes Film Festival and has screened at many other festivals.

Authored by Brian Niiya , Densho

Might also like Leap of Faith: How Enmanji Temple Was Saved (2010); Gila River and Mama: The Ruth Mix Story (2011); The Music Man of Manzanar (2005)


  1. Matthew Hashiguchi, "People Aren't All Bad," Asian American Policy Review , Dec. 17, 2014, .
Media Details
Release Date 2012
Runtime 4 minutes
Director Matthew Hashiguchi
Producer Andrea Morales
Music Otis Spann
Editing Matthew Hashiguchi
For More Information

For More Information

People Aren't All Bad on Vimeo: .

Filmmaker website: .

Hashiguchi, Matthew. " People Aren't All Bad. " Asian American Policy Review , Dec. 17, 2014.